WESTWOOD, Mass., June 29 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- This is the hottest season of the year for vehicle theft with July and August ranking as the highest months for theft. Moreover, the national rate of vehicles stolen and not recovered is at its highest point in more than 20 years, with sophisticated thieves making a big business out of vehicle theft. A full 43 percent of vehicles stolen in 2008 (latest FBI data) were never recovered, amounting to 411,444 stolen cars and trucks not returned to their rightful owners.
To help drivers keep their vehicles—cars, trucks, motorcycles and even construction equipment—safe from theft while they are on the road this summer, LoJack Corporation (Nasdaq: LOJN) and the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) are embarking on their fourth annual education initiative, which kicks off this July during "National Vehicle Theft Protection Month." The two organizations will provide valuable theft protection information to vehicle owners.
LoJack & NICB Leveraging Social Media for this Year's Vehicle Theft Protection Program
As part of this year's education initiative designed to help owners better understand how to protect their cars, trucks, motorcycles, construction equipment and commercial vehicles from theft, LoJack and NICB are leveraging several social media and online channels to create broad awareness around vehicle theft protection:
- Twitter Chat: @LoJackCorp and @insurancecrime, the Twitter accounts for LoJack and NICB, will co-host an hour-long Twitter Chat about protecting your vehicle from theft on Thursday, July 1 at 12 p.m. EST. LoJack and NICB will be joined by several experts on auto theft prevention, including representatives from the Texas Auto Burglary and Theft Prevention Authority (@TxAutoBurgTheft) and Pennsylvania Auto Theft Prevention Authority (@WatchYourCarPA). To participate, Twitter users can go to http://tweetchat.com/room/VehicleTheftProtect or follow the hashtag #VehicleTheftProtect.
- Interactive & Downloadable Booklet: "Get in the Know" – (http://www.lojack.com/knowledge/Documents/GetInTheKnow.pdf) is an interactive educational booklet co-produced by LoJack and NICB that details the facts about vehicle theft, as well as the steps owners can take to protect their cars, motorcycles or heavy equipment from theft.
- Vehicle Safety Quiz: Drivers are encouraged to see how well they practice vehicle safety by taking a short, five question quiz at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/YKXYVY6
- Vehicle Theft Protection Information – To learn more about vehicle theft protection, owners can visit LoJack's Knowledge Center or Facebook page, or NICB's website at www.nicb.org and click on "Theft & Fraud Awareness."
Today's Professional Thieves: Making Big Bucks on Stolen Vehicles
Today's exceedingly high rate of never-recovered stolen vehicles is due in large part to the fact that professional thieves are behind the majority of today's vehicle theft. These thieves know just what vehicles to steal (typically, the most common sedans, SUVs and trucks on the road) and how to get around anti-theft devices. They can outsmart smart keys and disengage everything from fuel cut-off systems to alarms to wheel locks.
What Happens to Your Vehicle When it's Stolen by a Professional Thief?
- Many cars end up in chop shops, where the vehicle is stripped down to its components, which are then sold separately on the black market. By selling individual parts, thieves can make two to four times the vehicle's actual worth (see attached visual).
- Other vehicles are shipped overseas and sold illegally. Hundreds of thousands of stolen vehicles are transported across U.S. borders each year.
- Some stolen vehicles are used in the commission of other more serious crimes.
- The rest are simply resold as used vehicles, most often to unsuspecting customers.
"As the rate of non-recovered stolen vehicles reaches a 20+-year high, consumers need to do everything possible to keep their vehicles safe from an increasingly clever base of professional thieves," said Patrick Clancy, Vice President of Law Enforcement for LoJack and theft prevention expert. "This is particularly critical during the months of July and August when vehicle theft is at its peak and many families are out on the road enjoying their summer vacations. That's why LoJack and NICB conduct their annual education initiative as summer kicks off to provide drivers with the information they need to keep their vehicles safe from theft."
What Can Today's Drivers Do to Keep Their Vehicles Safe?
By combining common sense approaches, theft prevention and tracking/recovery systems, today's drivers can protect their vehicles from theft.
- The first important step: Use Common Sense Measures. Never leave keys in the vehicle with the engine running. Don't hide a spare key in the vehicle. Close all windows and lock all doors when leaving your vehicle. Park in a well-lit area and, when at home, keep your vehicle in the garage. Don't leave valuables visible in your car, particularly those items that include your personal information —thieves can drive off not only with your car, but your identity as well.
- The second step: Use Theft Prevention Products. An amateur thief may be less inclined to steal your car if it has visible and audible warning devices like a wheel lock or alarm system. Immobilizers—which include smart keys, kill switches and fuel cut-off devices—can offer another means of protection. While the professionals can often disable these devices, they do offer another means of deterrence.
- The third step: Use a Tracking and Recovery System. Since thieves can typically disarm most theft prevention devices, recovery systems provide the peace of mind that you'll get your car back – often quickly – in the event it is stolen. The most effective systems are directly integrated into law enforcement, use Radio Frequency technology, which has proven to be optimal for recovering stolen vehicles, and are covert so they cannot be disengaged.
Headquartered in Des Plaines, Ill., the National Insurance Crime Bureau is the nation's leading not-for-profit organization exclusively dedicated to preventing, detecting and defeating insurance fraud and vehicle theft through information analysis, investigations, training, legislative advocacy and public awareness. The NICB is supported by nearly 1,100 property and casualty insurance companies and self-insured organizations. NICB member companies wrote over $319 billion in insurance premiums in 2009, or more than 78 percent of the nation's property/casualty insurance. That includes more than 93 percent ($151 billion) of the nation's personal auto insurance. To learn more, visit www.nicb.org.
About LoJack Corporation
LoJack Corporation, the company that invented the stolen vehicle recovery market more than two decades ago, is the global leader in finding and recovering a wide range of mobile assets including cars, construction equipment and motorcycles – having recovered more than $5 billion USD in stolen assets worldwide. In today's rapidly changing world, LoJack's core competencies are more valuable and more relevant than ever as they are now being applied into new areas, such as the prevention, detection and recovery of stolen cargo and finding and rescuing people with cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer's and autism. LoJack has the proven processes, ultimate technology for recovery – Radio Frequency – and unique integration with law enforcement agencies, making its offerings the most effective solutions that not only deliver a wide range of recoveries, but also enhance the safety of the public on a global level. LoJack's Stolen Vehicle Recovery System operates in 28 states and the District of Columbia, and in more than 30 countries throughout North America, South America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more information, visit www.lojack.com.
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